Craftvent 2017

Advent calendars aren’t a big part of my childhood, but I liked the idea of getting little presents all through December, and since I’d intentionally cut back on gift knitting, I had time to do a mystery-a-long, so I bought into Jimmy Beans’ Craftvent.

It’s a nice kit, filled with knitting tools (including needles and everything else in the photo above) and enough yarn for the mystery shawl. Well, MAYBE enough yarn for the shawl; a lot of people ran out of yarn #2.

I didn’t run out, though it was close! Unfortunately, the upset over yarn shortages and the posting of spoilers made the Facebook group they made for the kal super angry and not fun until jbw realized they had a problem and laid out ground rules. I don’t think Facebook is really designed to deal with spoilers, and they should have stuck with Ravelry, which has tools and conventions about spoiler and no spoiler threads that would have really improved the experience.

I liked the pattern ok. There was not much mystery for the middle clues, but since the yarns were also part of the mystery that didn’t bother me as much as it might have. (Picture above in grey to show that there is a subtle difference between yarn 1 and 3)

It’s a lousy time of year for me to have a calendar based thing going, so I started opening boxes early, which made me more chill about spoilers at least.

I didn’t finish before Dec 25th rolled by, but that’s ok.

It was a pretty busy season!

And I did get it done before I left Ottawa and blocked after I got home.

It’s gotten me thinking a lot about designing a similar “Christmas in July” advent out of season, so it hits at a less busy time of year. It’d be a neat way to showcase some yarn from my local yarn store, but i think I’d want a lower price point so it’d have to be a bit lighter on the goodies. Maybe I’ll try to design a simple scarf and see if I could make it work!

As for doing the jbw Craftvent again, I’m not sure. It’s fun and I have no regrets (except maybe for joining the fb group) but I think i might try one that’s all yarn or use the same amount of money to get surprise yarns at a time of year when I can appreciate them more.

Still, it was a fun thing to do this year!

Works in progress: late 2017

Turns out, in a surprise to no one, it’s a lot harder to blog with a baby! I’ve traded my “real” SLR camera for my phone 99% of the time, and my laptop is sitting neglected and whining that it hasn’t had backups for 57 days, which would be scary if it actually had any new data on it…

I can knit and use my phone while breastfeeding, though, so let’s talk about what I can do rather than what I can’t!

.. Like take baby butt selfies. While knitting. Mad skillz, yo.

Here’s the projects I had on the needles before Yanksgiving (thanks to my sister for this terrible portmanteau for American Thanksgiving):

That upper left one is a baby sweater that thankfully was mostly finished before J put it in the wash (but thankfully not the dryer!) . Haven’t taken new pictures, but I will once the ends get woven in better and the buttons get put on. It’s too big, but I tell myself he’ll grow into it. Like the other 3 sweaters I’ve already made for him. This was a “practice your intarsia” plus a “learn to knit while breastfeeding” item. It worked!

Next up, some pretty lace I started in the summer before I decided to make my sister a birthday shawl as a joke. I’ll write about that later. This is from Kelli Slack’s shawl book, and it fits the niche of “tiny complex project” for when I’m going to be knitting for a while. This… was a more important niche when I was waiting for baby Potato to arrive. I’ll finish it eventually, but it tends to get sidelined by the new hotness a lot.

Speaking of new hotness… This is the unihorn magic KAL. It’s my new easy travel knit, since complexity wasn’t what I wanted while visiting my inlaws or paying attention to baby Potato on the plane.

The little bag is the new travel cube from Tom Bihn, and it fit the niche of “tiny bag that fits knitting, wallet, passport and can be stuffed in the diaper bag when needed” so I am very satisfied.

The Historic Portland MKAL is also from Kelli Slack. I’m behind: clue 4 came out on Saturday and I’m less than halfway through clue 3, but I’ll probably finish this one soon. If I were to knit it again, I’d swap colours for every repeat instead of per section as described in the KAL instructions — one of the gals in my Saturday knitting group is doing hers with more colours and that also looks great. But I love the yarn and it’s so nicely charted that it feels easy and relaxing even though there’s a lot going on in there.

And one more MKAL: this is an advent calendar from Jimmy Beans Wool. It was a splurge, but I like the little gift every day. I don’t like the new facebook group so much because it’s been really intense about spoilers, so I think I’ll just post progress elsewhere and not engage. There have been some super cute notions, and even the needles came on day 2! Love the colourful stitch markers and that border!

I also have one gift to knit, but I changed my plan for it once I saw the indie gift along patterns, so I’m currently waiting for my yarn to arrive. Wish me luck finishing on time with all these other lovelies to work on!